February 8, 2012
Green Mountain at Fox Run is a Vermont health retreat where you won’t hear the word calories. Through exercise and “intuitive eating,” it helps women find a healthy weight without dieting. “I haven’t moved my body like this in years!” gushed 49-year-old Laurie Marshall on a recent visit. Sound good?
Do a body check
Green Mountain is part of a growing movement to switch focus from a weight-centric vision of health to the idea that a woman can be healthy at any size. “There’s a huge natural diversity of body sizes and shapes,” says Linda Bacon, Ph.D., a nutrition professor at City College of San Francisco and author of Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight (Benbella Books, 2008).
Recent studies suggest that a little excess weight may do you no harm, and a recent review in Nutrition Journal shows that a non-diet approach is better at improving body image, mood, blood pressure and blood lipids.
Eat what you want, when you want
“Our bodies need fuel to keep us energized—food isn’t the enemy, it’s actually your friend,” says Rebecca Scritchfield, R.D., a nutritionist in Washington, D.C. “Let hunger be your guide.” Scritchfield suggests first focusing on when you are eating. For most of us, eating when we are hungry usually means a small meal or snack every three to five hours. Once you get into the habit of eating when you’re hungry—and stopping when you’re full—think about the type of fuel you are putting into your body.
Premium fuel includes whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and lean sources of protein (and minimal processed foods).
Make moving fun!
Scritchfield suggests you start small—stand instead of sitting and climb stairs instead of taking the elevator. “It really doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you move your body often,” she says.
While little steps can add up to big change, it’s also important to make time for purposeful exercise to regulate appetite and—most important—to make you feel good. Thirty-six-year-old Lisa Christie used to detest training machines, but her attitude toward exercise changed when she discovered group workouts and hikes at Green Mountain. As Scritchfield says, “We deserve to feel great now—not 20 pounds from now.”
From our sister publication, Diabetes Focus (Spring 2012)